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The Flat Tax in Central Europe: Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Comparative Perspective

Author(s): Joseph Michael Ellis

Journal: Central European Journal of Public Policy
ISSN 1802-4866

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 24;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: flat tax | policy diffusion | ideas | varieties of diffusion

Why and how have Slovakia and the Czech Republic adopted flat tax policies? That is what this paper answers. This is a curious development given that flat tax policies were noticeably absent from the landscape of most of the world, including Eastern Europe. I argue that two simultaneous processes occur that make adoption viable.  First, at the domestic level, the idea of the flat tax is held in esteem by a number of actors, specifically: elite carriers, tax and financial ministers, think tanks and right-wing political parties. They champion this idea to its adoption, or at the least, introduce the flat tax into the policy-making apparatus. Second, at the international level, policy diffusion of the flat tax takes place. In other words, the experience of previous adopters impacts the decisions of future adopters. Examining both cognitive heuristics theory and rational learning I argue that there are “varieties of diffusion” during the diffusion of the flat tax.
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